Album Review: Northern Captives – Dizzy

UK alternative rock trio Northern Captives address the struggle of modern society on their thoughtful and dynamic debut album Dizzy 

With the release of their long-awaited debut LP Dizzy, Northern Captives have emerged with the most fully realised and powerful showcase of their full-blooded alternative rock sound to date, a release that is packed full of emphatic moments, a full spectrum of emotions, and the enduring struggle of trying to stay positive and keep your head above water.

Things get off to a blistering start on ‘Miracle’, a track that evokes the spirit of Alexisonfire thanks to its crushing instrumentation, crooned vocals, and this intense duality between more heavy and impactful and melodic moments. The track kicks off the album on the front foot, feeling visceral and powerful from the outset and give you an idea of the whirlwind that you are in for.

‘Killed the Creative’ explores the increasing difficulty that creative people have surviving in the modern climate and navigating through a world where these kinds of industries feel increasingly marginalised and unattainable. The venom and energy that drips from the vocals paints the picture as well as any lyrics could, while intense and creative instrumentation demonstrates the powerful artistry of the band.

Things slow down a little bit on ‘Anxiety Dreams’, a track anchored by a storming bassline that showcases some of the more subdued and melodic tendencies of the outfit. The track does a great job of creating a tense of atmospheric tension as it explores themes like anxiety and trying to break cycles, making for a track that sticks to you for long after your listen.

The anthemic ‘Living In-Between’ follows, a track that surrounds the idea of modern society and how it doesn’t really suit or wasn’t purpose-built for neurodiverse people or people with different needs. This track is another masterclass in building gradually and releasing tension with a soaring apex that feels powerful and engrossing, while packing an important and powerful message.

The low-key and immersive ‘Distraction or Cure’ follows, characterised by the drums that form the heartbeat of the sound, while the instrumentation is afford space to breathe and make for a really flowing and engrossing listening experience. This provides one of the most laid-back moments on the album as a whole, and one that forms a stark contrast to some of its more pulsating and fierce moments.

The upbeat and energetic ‘Cats Eyes’ kick things back into gear with its energetic and catchy flair, built around one of the album’s catchier choruses and packed full of powerful and punchy moments that contrast some lulls and moments of quiet that make the rest hit even harder.

The album hits another emphatic high in the form of ‘Nostalgia’, a track that explores the surreal nature of looking back at the past and feeling like you’re viewing someone else’s memories rather than your own. The cathartic and potent nature of the instrumental and emphatic vocals gives the track an instantly memorable feel musically as well as thematically.

‘Joy’ follows suit with an instant classic of a riff and a killer chorus that blistering in its intensity and energy. The track, complete with a feature from Manchester punk’s WYRES feels relentless and dynamic in its approach throughout, making for a standout moment in an album that is packed full of highlights.

The title track Joy feels like a natural conclusion for the album, a reflective and thoughtful moment from the outfit that is almost a look back at the album and life, failing to make sense of any of it and concluding that it is all just a bit confusing and overwhelming in the end. “Nobody knows what it means” the band admit on the track, and it’s hard to argue given the current state of things.

On the whole, Dizzy is a compelling and thoroughly engrossing collection of tracks that have a lot to say and articulates its feelings in a clear and powerful way, whether through the lyrics, the vocals or the variety and poise of the soundscapes. The heavy moments make the melodic feel so much more soulful and charming while the melodic give the heavy so much more power and verve, allowing the band to express feelings like joy, anger, frustration, and liberation effortlessly through their sound. There a tonnes of highlights throughout for a litany of different reasons, that carry different amounts of weight and express both how miserable and exciting it is to live in such weird times. If you’re a fan of alternative rock, thoughtful, poignant lyrics, or any kind of music that looks to strike a chord or make a difference, then Dizzy is an album we highly recommend.